Creating the Eucharist was one of Jesus’ last acts before His death and Resurrection. The Church at the Second Vatican Council proclaimed that the Eucharist is “a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, and a bond of charity.” Today, the Eucharist continues to bring us together in community, nourishes our personal relationship with God, and comes with a unique call through the Gospel for us to share God’s love through service and prayer.
This sacrament gives us many gifts to strengthen and refresh us in our lives. As the leaders of our Church on earth, popes throughout history have written on their great respect for the power of the Eucharist in our lives. The following reflections give us an inspirational overview of this sacrament from several of our modern-day popes.
Pope John XXIII knew that the Eucharist is the support we need from God. He wrote “the Eucharist . . . has the effect of nourishing and fostering the inner perfection of [our] soul. More important than any display of [knowledge] are the hunger and thirst for the divine Word, . . . this is life to the soul, light to the mind, and the very breath of inspiration.”
Pope Paul VI wrote, “The Eucharistic Mystery stands at the heart and center of the liturgy, since it is the font of life that cleanses us and strengthens us to live not for ourselves but for God.”
In addition to our individual support, Pope Francis reminds us that this sacrament brings us together as a community. “When we celebrate the Eucharist it is the living Jesus who brings us together, forms us into a community, allows us to adore the Father,” he said. Through this “each one of us . . . is incorporated into Christ and united to the entire community of believers.“
Pope John Paul II was confident that in addition to other gifts, there is a transformative benefit for us in the Eucharist. “In the humble signs of bread and wine, changed into His body and blood, Christ walks beside us as our strength and our food for the journey, and he enables us to become, for everyone, witnesses of hope.”
"Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread."